As a parent with kids in school, it's amazing how much we have to think about getting our kids ready for back to school. Into the new routine of school mornings, after-school events and evenings. And that is without thinking about how our kids are doing, wanting them to do their best and be happy. Because there is a lot of things to think about we've put some tips together to make back to school a little better for you as parents.
Don't forget to read our back to school tips for kids as well there is some good advice there for you as well.
Back To School for Parents
Tip 1 - Ease Back into the Routine
The one year that we returned from summer vacation the day before school started it was a disaster for the first week. Everyone was overtired and we weren't prepared. Since then I've put my foot down and we now try and have at least 5 days before school starts where we can start to ease into the routine.
This means setting an alarm for time to get up.
Making sure that we dressed earlier and have had a good breakfast!
Eating an evening meal at a reasonable time in the evening together.
AND... possibly the most important for us is reaffirming the bedtime so that the kids have enough sleep. During summer we let evenings last longer and enjoy the full days but, with school approaching, I put in place a regular time to go to bed. I do it for myself as well so that I know that I have had enough sleep come morning and aren't even more grouchy before I have my coffee.
Tip 2 - Arrange a Play Date before School Starts
As a teacher, one of the things that I spent a lot of the first week doing is asking children to stop talking so that I could.
They were catching up with their friends about what they had been doing over the summer. I know it and I am pretty sure I used to do it as well!
So help your children to get that bit over with and arrange a play date or a get together with their friends before school starts. Why not make it an "event" and get as many as possible down the park, to the bowling alley or somewhere so that everyone can catch up.
Not only will it make it an easier transition back to school but they are less likely to be told to please stop talking by their teachers over and over again.
Tip 3 - Equipment for Home and School
In my tips for back to school for kids, I said that they needed to be prepared but so do you.
It could be uniform, school supplies, lunchbox essentials or even homework equipment it's useful to be prepared.
I like to set up the equipment for homework ahead of school starting back and with 2 kids I double up on the equipment too. As although I have 2 years between then I can almost guarantee that both would need a dictionary at the same time or coloured pens.
If you are looking for what you need to support your child with their homework at home - check out our Guide to Homework Equipment for your child.
Tip 4 - Foster Independence
In one breath I am telling you to equip the kids for home and school and in the next, I'm telling you to hand it over to them.
But, I don't mean expect your 6-year-old to do everything themselves. I mean that over the years that they are at school you move from packing their bags for them and checking them at the end of the day to by the time they are in high school checking in with them that they have everything for the week ahead on a Sunday.
There are things you can do to help. Have a calendar where events are written down so that kids can know what they need for specific days.
If the class teachers provide a timetable then put that somewhere so that you and your children know what subjects they are expecting for the day and they can start to make sure that equipment is ready.
Get them to start to pack their lunches and snacks - make it easier by organising it a little. I love the school lunch station from Design Improvised if combined with the Fridge Baskets from Happy Go Lucky you can sort it out at the beginning of the week and let your kids pack their own the night before.
Check out our supplies for lunchboxes to make sure that you have everything you need for the new school year
Tip 5 - Meet the Teachers
I know that not all schools do this but if your child's school does especially when they are in the early years and have 1 teacher for the year try and attend.
You will be able to put a face to the name as your child will talk about their teacher, A LOT! Plus at the meetings the teachers go over what the students will be learning, expectations, homework etc... and it can really help you to know what is coming up and what to expect.
Also, make a note of and make sure that you arrange so that you can attend the parent's meetings throughout the year and any other important events.
Tip 6 - It's not just Academics
A school has a lot to offer more than just academics try and encourage your children to do something that they are interested in or that you think is important.
For the last few years, we have paid for swimming lessons outside of school for our kids. To me, it's a life skill and it's one that I wanted to make sure that they were able to do sooner rather than later.
If the school doesn't offer anything then check in your communities - it doesn't have to be sports either - is there a scout group or cadets that your child maybe interested in joining! One of the bonuses of these type of activities is that are a mix of ages and often don't just have children from your child's school attending it's a great way for them to enlarge their friendship circles and interact with others.
Tip 7 - Screens
Yes, I'm going there and there will probably be a fuss I know there is in our house but, we try and limit the screens in the morning. If I had my way we would ban them completely but at the moment the kids get up incredibly early (often before 6) so we have a Screen Stop Policy at 7am till they go to school.
That gives them time to sit and eat breakfast, get ready for the day and for my younger two time to play as well.
We do however have the radio or music on so often have impromptu dance parties in the kitchen as we get ready for the school day.
More Back to School Advice for Parents
Lunch Ideas for Back to School - Coming Soon